BY RICK WRIGHT –
The Mena Bearcats will play their annual Red and Black inter-squad game Friday, August 19th at Bearcat Stadium and will not only gain players some practice, but also give the community a preview of the local football talent. “The Red and Black scrimmage is somewhat of an evaluation tool,” said Mena Head Football Coach Tim Harper. “Unfortunately for us, our numbers are pretty indicative. We’ve got 11 or 12 offensive linemen right now and 11 or 12 defensive linemen. It doesn’t take you long to figure out which ones are your ones, or your first string, and who is your twos.”
Harper explained that a lot of the lineup will be determined by how things go in the Red and Black scrimmage. “It’s also an opportunity for us to let parents and fans get a little bit of an early glimpse of the team before we play Jacksonville on Monday,” said Harper.
Mena will play host to Jacksonville and Dierks on Monday when the trio will scrimmage. Harper said the Bearcats scrimmaged Jacksonville last year and it “went pretty good for us.”
“Jacksonville is a class 6A team,” said Harper. “They play in the 6A East and are a very athletic team. They have a lot of team speed and a lot of size. They are very similar to a lot of teams we see in the 4A conference. Unfortunately for them, they are probably not as good as the Ashdowns, the Nashvilles, the Malverns or Arkadelphias right now. But they are very similar in their ability. So, it’s a good test for us.”
The action will begin Friday at 6 p.m. with the junior high team, which consists of the 9th grade players. They will scrimmage against Bearcat sophomores and junior varsity for around 30 – 40 minutes. Immediately following that scrimmage at around 6:30 or so, BFI (Bearcat Foundation, Inc.) will host their 3rd annual Powder Puff game with ladies’ teams. Harper said there are two teams in this year’s competition and they will likely play the best two of three.
After the Powder Puff game, around 7:00 – 7:15, the high school varsity will take the field. Everyone is encouraged to attend. The entry fee for the scrimmage is a package of 12 ounce bottles of Gatorade. These are used throughout the season to keep the Bearcats replenished during their extensive workouts and games.
Everyone is also encouraged to attend the Monday night scrimmage at 6 p.m. for the scrimmage against Jacksonville. At 7:15, the junior varsity will play Dierks. The scrimmage is a AAA benefit game and will have a $4 entry fee.
Harper also said a change of schedule has been made to the junior high scrimmage on Thursday, August 25. The game has been moved to Mena and will begin at 6 p.m. It also serves as a benefit game for the AAA and has a $4 entry fee as well.